News Release - A contractor with a long history of pressuring consumers into expensive driveway paving work is now banned from all residential paving in North Carolina, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Monday.
"We will come down hard on businesses that repeatedly violate the law, ignore court orders, and deny consumers their rights," Cooper said. At Cooper's request, Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert H. Hobgood today found Tommy Edward Clack guilty of civil contempt for violating earlier court orders and issued a permanent ban on all residential paving work by Clack and his associates. Clack has also been ordered to pay $27,500 in refunds to four consumers who filed affidavits in the case. If he does not pay by July 7, he will be jailed in Wake County until he comes up with the money.
The court had previously ordered Clack to stop soliciting or performing any new residential driveway paving work between May 14 and today's hearing. Prior to that, Clack was under a November 2008 court order to wait at least four days after a written contract was signed before beginning any paving work in North Carolina.
However, Cooper's office today presented affidavits from consumers who alleged that Clack had violated the previous court orders, charging them thousands of dollars for shoddy work.
A Lillington woman said in her affidavit that Clack approached her 75-year-old mother about paving her driveway on May 19. Clack convinced her to pay $8,500 for the paving work, then backdated the contract to make it appear that the work was paid for prior to May 14.
Three other consumers filed affidavits stating that Clack violated the November 2008 court order, including a Fayetteville woman who is 90 and a couple in their 70s who paid Clack $7,500 to pave their driveways in April.
In each case, Clack promised consumers a good deal because he claimed he was already in the neighborhood and had asphalt leftover from other jobs. Clack's crew then began work as soon as the contract was signed and completed the job in two hours or less using poor quality paving materials.
Under state law, consumers have three days to cancel most purchases sold door-to-door, but many consumers who have complained about Clack said they didn't think they could cancel once the paving was underway. Consumers who tried to cancel and get a refund reported that Clack was uncooperative.
Following the November 2008 court order, Clack moved his business to South Carolina and currently lives in Myrtle Beach. He faces a four-count criminal indictment out of Florence County, SC for defrauding four South Carolina victims out of sums ranging from $16,000 to $30,000.
The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division has the authority to bring civil cases against unfair and deceptive business practices. In North Carolina, local District Attorneys have the authority to bring criminal charges.
Clack initially operated in the Wilmington area. Cooper first filed suit against Clack in 2007, winning an injunction in March 2008 that compelled him to pay $50,000 and correct previous substandard paving jobs. Clack then relocated to Greensboro, where more problems surfaced, which led to the November 2008 court order explained above.
"Do your homework before you agree to pay any money for home repairs," Cooper cautioned consumers. "If need work done on your home, get several written estimates and check references before you sign a contract. Don't just go with the first company that comes knocking on your door."
To check out a home repair company or file a complaint against one, North Carolina consumers can call1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within state. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.